'Chicago,' 'Swing' mark increases

Business on Broadway split pretty much down the middle with 11 of the 23 productions showing improvement. Otherwise, there were few big gains but several significant declines as overall business dropped $146,723 — or 1.2% — to finish at $11,793,440. A year ago to date, total cume stood at a much less remarkable $8,326,196 for 19 shows.

“Chicago” registered the healthiest uptick, with a $48,906 increase at the box office. “Swing” was also up, by $24,769. In its last week of performances, “Jesus Christ Superstar” gained $26,061 to close at $449,888 on a gross potential of $921,776. The Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice revival closed Sept. 3 after a disappointing run of 161 performances.

Broadway’s mighty but shrinking trio of plays — “Copenhagen,” “Dirty Blonde” and “The Man Who Came to Dinner” — marked time over the holiday weekend with modest four-digit blips at the box office. They all managed to improve, with “Copenhagen” up $6,642, the biggest increase of the three.

Out of tune

Otherwise, seven musicals sent the overall B.O. spiraling downward. They were “Riverdance” (down $55,903), “Les Miserables” (down $42,943), “The Phantom of the Opera” (down $40,287), “Miss Saigon” (down $39,395), “Beauty and the Beast” (down $38,235) and “Kiss Me, Kate” ($34,496). Most surprisingly, Bernadette Peters’ final week in “Annie Get Your Gun” was no boon to biz. The Irving Berlin revival sank $52,478 to close at $593,015 on a gross potential of $790,214. Cheryl Ladd takes over for Peters this week.

Again, “The Lion King” was the only sold-out show (101.21%), with “Aida” (99.37%), “Contact” (98.70%) and “Cats” (97.39%) just under the magical mark.

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